Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling waaaaay up north to be part of the very first TEDxEdmonton Education conference! In the TED spirit of ideas worth spreading, this conference focused around a conversation on how learning is evolving and impacting our schools, workplaces and industries.
This fantastic event featured speakers directly from the education world and individuals doing innovative work in related areas. TEDxEdmonton Education was designed to kickstart a discussion on learning. How do we disrupt the status quo and replace traditional approaches to learning? How do we leave the politics of education behind to focus on impact and innovation? Some incredible conversations emerged!
The 500+ attendees included students, educators, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, and community, technology, and business leaders across K-12 and post-secondary education… .quite a dynamic crowd! Speakers included:
- Larry Anderson, ManCap Ventures
- Ashlyn Bernier, Graduate Students’ Association
- David Bill, Urban School of San Francisco
- Carla Casilli, Mozilla Foundation
- Stephanie Lo, TED Ed
- Bill Ritchie, ThinkFun Inc.
- Amy Shostak, Rapid Fire Theatre
- Kris Wells, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services, University of Alberta
Bill shared learnings from his 28+ years in the games industry, and his talk focused on the idea of Thinking Skills – having spent years searching for a definition and clear meaning of this term, Bill posited to the audience that people are just plain confused about what thinking skills are. ThinkFun’s goal is to be pioneers in this space, creating programs that genuinely deliver thinking skills through playing experiences.
In Bill’s words, “We believe in the power of play to inspire kids and prepare their minds to be ready to learn, then it’s up to us to deliver the goods.” He introduced ThinkFun’s newest Brain Lab program set to launch in November – stay tuned!
In discussing the typical way schools teach “thinking skills,” Bill shared this fantastic cartoon he dreamed up and our graphic designer created, anyone have a good caption!?
During the breaks between speaker sessions, attendees had a blast playing with ThinkFun games (even Giant Rush Hour made an appearance!)… some fun photos of the games in action:
The conference twitter stream captured some fantastic highlights of Bill’s talk and the conversations it sparked.
- @maureen_parker: Do you believe in learning that is more than sugar-coated academic skills?” Bill Ritchie on creativity & thinking skills #TedxEdmonton
- @puneetasandhu: When thinking skills are subjugated to academic skills, they kind of lose their soul.” -Bill Ritchie #tedxedmonton
- @carolynjcameron: #tedxedmonton Bill Ritchie thinking skills incude whole person – emotional,cognitive, metacognitive-through play and game-making#gcms #psd70
- @deanwalls: Bill Ritchie says to move from cognitive to metacognitive by designing, instead of doing, puzzles. #tedxedmonton
- @wrice1978: The importance of emotional, cognitive and meta cognitive skills and engagement to build thinking skills via Bill Ritchie. #tedxedmonton
- @mmichellelam: “Play is what makes the world go around.” – in a conversation I had with Bill Ritchie from @ThinkFun #tedxedmonton”
I look forward to sharing a link to Bill’s talk once it is posted next month – stay tuned!